All the best stories are but one story in reality - the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape.
It is the twenty-sixth day of July, and I sit here staring at the picture of the osprey I decided would befit this post. She has guard duty while her mate fishes downstream. He will return shortly with a fine trout and I will hear their two young ones scream for a tasty morsel. They are not old enough to fly as yet, which puts them a few weeks behind schedule. As I've previously stated, everything is happening later into the summer months this year, thanks to the slow abdication of spring.
I am still sitting here, having recently returned from another morning's fishing. This was the fourth straight day I've risen earlier than usual so as to be standing in my river before daybreak; earlier than usual being at three rather than four, in the morning. Gives me a couple more hours of prime fishing time before the heat, which gets oppressive way before noon now, sets in. I don't know why that's important, if any of this really is, or why I felt the need to reveal that tidbit of nonsuch to you. But, there I was, and, to be honest, I'd not ever wish to be anywhere else, except maybe on the South Island of New Zealand in a spring creek, but my son tells me it's too expensive to live there, so there I am standing in my river spending not a dime and blithely loving it.
I see obstacles now. I'm desirous of planting in here as I construct this, a few tediously selected superlatives in order to most graphically, sensationally describe how good the catching has been since the now rapidly decreasing flows have once again allowed me access to those places I could, up to very recently, only gawk at from perches far removed. As they like to say, the fishing's always good, sometimes it's the catching that's not. But, in the context of the past four mornings, that's most definitely not been the case. I used to keep a pretty comprehensive tally of fish brought to hand for each day. I don't do that anymore. It seemed a bit too ego-oriented, at least for me. Hell, I'm the type of guy who may have several great days of catching in a row and then the day arrives where it's a little slow and I'm wondering what the heck I'm doing wrong. Actually, I'm not as bad as I used to be. In fact, if I remember correctly, which may be a stretch in itself, I've had a few days quite recently where I completely forgot to chastise myself for almost being skunked. Where did that attitude shift come from, anyway! I wouldn't say I've fallen into the 'just happy to be here' category just yet, but maybe that's not far off. I'll keep you posted. Could be the age thing, I don't know. I'll probably have a clearer idea about that when I begin waking up happy that I woke up.
Or maybe that's all just drivel from the brain of a hermitic madman who's experiencing some of the best fishing he's ever had in his life. I think it's easy to wax philosophic when the line is mostly tight. Catch up to me after a lengthy dry spell and we'll see what spills out of my mouth, besides the time-honored expletives. You'll find me, muttering incoherently, there at the vise, squinting into the magnifier at yet another possible 'Sure Thing' to add to my forever expanding and now quite formidable assemblage of 'Sure Things'.
But that's not really true, either. Truth is, with the exception of a subtle change in the color of the tungsten bead on some of my soft hackles, there has really, for the first time in many years I might add, been very little change in what I'm fishing with this year as compared to years past. Could it be that I'm fishing them more effectively? That statement, if you're not tuned in, is my deft way of kind of patting myself on the back, because I think I am indeed fishing those time tested patterns much more efficiently than ever before, which is proof that yes, even a slow learner like me can effect positive changes in fishing technique. Trouble is, when I look back on the past several years, most, if not all of the occasional improvements I made were accidental, or, at the very best, nearly unconscious ones. I was simply astute just enough at the right time to realize that what I'd discovered, whatever it was I'd done or tied or thought, maybe it'd be a good idea to replicate that long enough to see if some sort of symmetry existed. And, happily, usually there was, which also brings into context all the marvelous ways I have to justify that sort of success. A pat on the back, especially when it comes from you yourself, is almost always a good thing.
Yesterday I landed more trout, including two beautiful browns, than I've brought to hand for a very long time. I hooked them in the growing light of a hot day with swung, and deeply swung, soft hackles. I fished the shallows with Caddis dries, and BWO classic adults. It was a two-hour long carnival of delight. I couldn't do anything wrong. I made no wrong decisions concerning fly selection, or method of fishing them. For two hours, I stood at the pinnacle of success. Even my blood knots snapped true at the first attempt. That never happens. And the best part of it all was my ability to call it good, reel it up and set course for the trail knowing that there would indeed be another day, another opportunity to come and stand in my river and do it again.
Today it was also very good. It was a tad bit slower, but, I guess in the long run, it didn't matter, because way down deep I really was just 'happy to be there'.